Rail Safety Measures That Your Team Must Follow Now


Rail safety isn't a light matter. More than 3,000 workers were injured in railroad accidents in 2020. That's more than eight workers a day. 

An accident can occur at any time, and a worker can lose a limb or suffer a brain injury. You need to take several steps so your workers stay safe, and you can take the first step here by educating yourself. 

What regulations do you have to follow while working in the rail industry? How can you train your employees to remain safe? What should you do to avoid collisions? 

Answer these questions and you can have a healthy and safe workspace today. Here is your quick guide.

Follow Rail Safety Regulations

The Railroad Workplace Safety Rule requires companies that work on or near railroads to provide for employees' safety. Employees must have protective equipment, including hi-vis clothing and helmets.

During inclement weather, you need to take various steps to protect your workers. You have to have equipment that will remove snow and ice from walking surfaces. The machines you use must have warning lights, including brake lights. 

You cannot follow the Railroad Workplace Safety Rule on your own. You should talk to the railroad you are working at and learn about what they do to increase safety. Tunnel niches and clearing bays should be available for workers in case a train needs to pass through a work area. 

Appoint a Rail Safety Officer

A rail safety officer is someone who is responsible for monitoring your employees' safety while they are working. You can hire a few people at once, though you should have an employee in charge. This is someone who acts as a manager and inspects the worksite for rail safety hazards. 

Lookouts will warn other employees about moving equipment and trains. They will remain near safe places where workers can stand and rest while a train passes by. This allows the other employees to know where they need to go. 

You should also have a flagman. They will use hand signals, flags, and lights to direct trains to other locations. The best flagman is someone who has experience with working on trains, so try to find someone who has operated trains before.

Require Safety Training

All employees at your company should receive safety training at least once a year. Employees you are hiring should go through safety training as part of their orientation as well. 

Hire someone experienced in the rail/freight industry to go over important safety protocols. Your employees should learn how to avoid collisions, lay rails properly, and dispose of hazardous materials. 

Giving general safety tips that your workers can use for other jobs can help. Talk to your workers about preventing slips, trips, and falls by wearing good shoes and cleaning up spills. 

You should give them written guides that they can keep with them at all times. At the worksite, you should put up diagrams and posters about safety procedures.

Be Careful With Hazardous Materials

Some freight trains carry hazardous materials, including flammable gases and liquids. These trains should have stickers and markings on them designating what materials they are carrying. 

You should talk to the stations you are working near and see what trains are coming through. Whenever a train with hazardous material is passing near you, you should give it extra space to pass. You may want to pull all of your workers away from the train line to avoid any chance of a collision.

Your employees may be working with hazardous materials themselves. If you are using tools that produce sparks, you need to remove all flammable materials from the area.

If you are laying concrete or pouring chemicals, you should do so in an area with good air circulation. Employees should wear respirators and gloves so they don't inhale or touch any chemicals.

Be Careful With Moving Trains

Moving trains are your biggest obstacle to freight rail safety. A train cannot swerve to avoid obstacles in its way, and it may take more than a mile for a train to stop. 

You should avoid standing on a track whenever possible. You should keep all pieces of equipment off of the track, including hand tools. A wretch or a drill will break underneath a train, and it can cause a derailment, especially on weak tracks. 

If you see a train approaching you, move away from the track in the direction of the train. When a train collides with an object, the object may move forward or off to the side, but it rarely moves backward. 

Use Caution at Crossings

You may encounter cars as well as trains if you are working at a railroad crossing. At least two lookouts should be on standby, focusing on where cars and trains are. 

Be quick with the work you need to do at a crossing. Bring over a cart with tools on it so you don't have to move away to grab equipment. 

Make sure the area you are working in is well-lit. Security lights should be around the perimeter to signal to drivers when it is okay for them to cross. But you should also have overhead lights so you can see where cars are and know what you need to fix. 

Learn the Essentials of Rail Safety

You must prioritize rail safety at all times. You should provide your workers with all the safety equipment they need, including eye protection and written guides. You should train each employee before they head to the railway. 

Someone should be in charge of safety and others should serve as lookouts. As soon as a train comes into view, your workers should move out of the way. They should also be mindful of toxic materials and cars that could lead to accidents. 

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